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Fusion Radar: October 30, 2013

October 30th, 2013 - by marissa - Salt Lake City, Utah

Keeping up with technology is a lot of work. Luckily, we enjoy wading through the noise just to find the gems of awesomeness sprinkled throughout. Fusion Radar is our gift to you, Current or Potential Client, so that you can enjoy all of the awesome without any of the drudgery. Unwrap it each week, and know that you’re loved by the geeks and pixel-pushers at Agency Fusion.

Nitrous.io

Nitrous.io is a cloud-based development platform that allows developers to access their development environment from any computer, anywhere. Although it doesn’t offer a production environment, it does take away the pain of setting up dev environments. It allows users to code online with popular languages and frameworks like Node.js, Ruby on Rails, or Python; and it even has a collaborative coding feature.

Nitrous.io

Saga

Saga is an automatic “lifelogging” app that tracks your location and distance traveled each day to create a log of your day-to-day life. If you choose to let Saga post to Facebook automatically, the app tracks you wherever you take your phone, and posts status updates about your activities. It also integrates with fitness apps like FitBit or RunKeeper, as well as other apps like GoodReads and Mood Panda.

Saga

Oyster Books

There’s Netflix for movies and shows, Spotify for music, and now there’s Oyster, a subscription service for ebooks. Users pay $9.95 a month for access to hundreds of thousands of ebooks, making Oyster more or less a virtual (for profit) library. It’s a service that shows a lot of promise, but seems a little underdeveloped for now – their collection of books is relatively small, and so far Oyster is only available on Apple’s mobile devices.

Oyster Books

Duolingo

Duolingo is an online language-learning tool that offers specialized courses for speakers of one particular language to learn another. Duolingo is free, since the courses are created by volunteers who are fluent in both the language being taught and the language spoken by their students.

Duolingo

The Social Media Design Blueprint

“The Ridiculously Exhaustive Social Media Design Blueprint” is the full title of this infographic, and it seems pretty accurate. Specs include border, gap, and image sizes (all in pixels) on social media sites ranging from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Pinterest.

The Social Media Design Blueprint

Google Maps for Business

Google Maps for Business is a collection of Maps-based tools that helps you and your customers visualize your businesses’ data. These tools do everything from coordinating the movements of mobile teams outside the office to layering your own data on top of Google’s images to create maps relevant to your business. It’s also available to developers building location-based apps, and enables geocoding for your business.

Google Maps for Business

Optimizing UI Icons

This article is all about UI icons – the theory behind them, the different types out there, and how to optimize them for faster consumer recognition. The author of the article even put together her own study of lined vs. filled icons, so she could determine which type were easier for people to recognize.

Optimizing UI Icons

JCPenney’s Logo Change(s)

JCPenney is changing its logo–again. For anybody not keeping track, that’s three times in the last three years. The article linked below describes how the brand has tried to change its image since 2010 and the disastrous results of their attempted rebranding. It’s worth reading, at the very least as a cautionary tale.

JCPenney’s Logo Change(s)

Fusion Radar: October 23, 2013

October 23rd, 2013 - by marissa - Salt Lake City, Utah

Keeping up with technology is a lot of work. Luckily, we enjoy wading through the noise just to find the gems of awesomeness sprinkled throughout. Fusion Radar is our gift to you, Current or Potential Client, so that you can enjoy all of the awesome without any of the drudgery. Unwrap it each week, and know that you’re loved by the geeks and pixel-pushers at Agency Fusion.

GitHub and Government

GitHub and Government is an effort from GitHub, the world’s largest open source network, to improve national, state, and local governments all over the world by opening them up to anyone with an internet connection. This particular section of the site has success stories of open source, open data, and open government projects.

GitHub and Government

Inc

Inc – a Mac app and Chrome Extension – gives its users an alternative to internal emails: a clean, collaborative space for all kinds of information. The software was built around the goal of producing useful internal communication – it allows users within a company to share links and notes, get and send notifications, and collect information as a group, all in one place.

Inc

Textbook Drone Delivery

Zookal, a textbook rental company in Australia, is experimenting with a new method of delivery: autonomous drones. They’re actually programming pilotless hexacopters to fly to preset GPS coordinates, where the customer will be waiting to pick up their books. They say it cuts down on both the time and cost of delivery, and claim that their program is the first official commercial use of drones in the world.

Textbook Drone Delivery

At.js

At.js is a free “github-like” autocomplete library. Users simply begin typing in any character and At.js does its best to fill in the blanks. You can check out the documentation and examples of the library at work here.

At.js

Facebox.io

Facebox is an ideal product for data engineers, product managers, business analysts, or anyone else in digital business. For $35, you get 50 rights-cleared high-res profile pictures to use in presentations, mockups, prototypes, and diagrams. This saves you the trouble of pulling your own images from a Google search or buying photos on expensive stock image sites.

Facebox.io

Lulu

Lulu is a new app that combines elements of the “Hot or Not” game from Facebook with a review-oriented site like Yelp. It’s a private network where girls can read and create reviews of guys they know. Although guys have access to the app, they can’t influence the ratings at all: they can only see if they’re being reviewed, or opt out of the app if they want to.

Lulu

Icon Reference Chart

The Icon Reference Chart is exactly what it sounds like: a quick (and highly useful) resource for finding sizes, formats, and other important information about different types of icons. This includes icons for web clips, documents, toolbars, and a few other applications.

Icon Reference Chart

VerbalExpressions

VerbalExpressions is a Ruby library that aims to make difficult regular expressions a little easier to handle. The library helps users construct complicated regular expressions by allowing them to use natural language to explain what they want, and then translating that information into a regex.

VerbalExpressions

Square Cash

Square, the company that made accepting credit cards with ordinary mobile phones popular, has come out with a new way to get paid. This time around, there’s no specific hardware involved, and you don’t even have to have a user name. Just send an email to whoever you want to pay, Cc cash@square.com, and put the amount of money you want to send in the subject line. Square Cash will send you an email asking you to link your debit card for a one-time transfer, and once you have, they’ll email the recipient a link so they can deposit the cash you sent into their bank.

Square Cash

RemoteStorage

This is a quick way to add remote storage to unhosted web apps. More specifically, RemoteStorage allows the unhosted web apps you’re building to use your personal server as cloud storage. That way, you can develop a web app without worrying about hosting or developing the backend for it as you go.

RemoteStorage

Fusion Radar: October 16, 2013

October 15th, 2013 - by marissa - Salt Lake City, Utah

Keeping up with technology is a lot of work. Luckily, we enjoy wading through the noise just to find the gems of awesomeness sprinkled throughout. Fusion Radar is our gift to you, Current or Potential Client, so that you can enjoy all of the awesome without any of the drudgery. Unwrap it each week, and know that you’re loved by the geeks and pixel-pushers at Agency Fusion.

Regular Expressions 101

Regular Expressions 101 – or RegEx101 – is an online tester for regular expressions in JavaScript, PHP, PCRE, and Python. It breaks down the regular expression you supply and explains it piece by piece. It also offers suggestions when it finds an error, and supplies a quick reference for basic and advanced strings.

RegEx101

Mailrox

Mailrox is an online tool for web developers and designers that makes building HTML emails simpler. You upload your design and then slice your layout into individual pieces – text boxes, images, etc. Then you add any text or custom HTML and export your email template to services like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor. Mailrox also lets team members collaborate while building emails, and create, apply and update CSS text styles quickly in Mailrox’s text editor.

Mailrox

Mousetrap

Mousetrap is a simple Javascript library designed to handle keyboard shortcuts in JS. It’s lightweight (at just 1.9kb minified and gzipped) and includes support for keypress, keydown, and keyup events on specific keys, keyboard combinations, and key sequences.

Mousetrap

Lego Calendar

Vitamins is a “design and invention studio” that doesn’t just innovate for its clients. They’ve come up with a creative way to keep track of projects both visually and digitally. Their Lego Calendar tracks projects, hours, and people in their company. To update project statuses, their designers snap the differently-colored legos (representing different projects) and individual lego people (one for each person on the project) into place, take a photo, and email it to their calendar software. The software behind the calendar then uses the image to update their digital calendar.

Lego Calendar

StackEdit

StackEdit is a free, open-source Markdown editor that stores your documents in the local browser storage – which means those documents are saved locally and are accessible offline. It also syncs with Google Drive and Dropbox so all your documents can be found in one place, and it can publish your Markdown doc on GitHub, Gist, Google Drive, Dropbox, or any other SSH server.

StackEdit

iSketchnote

The iSketchnote iPad cover is marketed as a gadget that fuses the natural experience of pen on paper with the power and potential of an iPad. To use it, you place your paper or sketchbook on top of the open iSketchnote cover. The sensors in the iPad cover view and recreate your sketches in real time on your iPad as you draw with an iSketchnote pen.

iSketchnote

Alfred Workflows

To explain Alfred Workflows, you first have to know what Alfred 2 is. Put simply, Alfred 2 is an app- and file-launching utility that uses hotkey commands. It’s like Spotlight, but more advanced. Alfred Workflows is a collection of commands that do everything from converting HEX/RGB/HSL colors, to filtering keywords in Dash, to launching iOS Simulator without launching Xcode.

Alfred Workflows

The Voice of Siri

This article on The Verge delves into the process of recording, dissecting, and synthesizing TTS (text to speech) voices like Siri. It is a complicated process, to say the least – not only do voice actors have to record hundreds of thousands of words, they have to say many of them several times with different inflections. The article describes the whole TTS system and offers a few interesting videos to supplement readers’ understanding of the process.

The Voice of Siri

Fusion Radar: October 9, 2013

October 8th, 2013 - by marissa - Salt Lake City, Utah

Chipotle’s Scarecrow Strategy

This week at Agency Fusion, we took a quick break from checking out the latest technology and design trends to discuss Chipotle’s Scarecrow video.

Now, there are already dozens of articles floating around the internet about this commercial, but what we wanted to discuss wasn’t the possible exploitative nature of the ad, or the beautiful art in the video. We wanted to talk about Chipotle’s messaging tactic. Chipotle isn’t beating you over the head with the message they want you to hear (we’ll let you decide just what the message really is), but instead they’re using animation, symbolism, emotion, music, and a moving storyline to very gently nudge you toward certain perceptions about their brand. You, the viewer, are the one who has to form those perceptions since Chipotle is only suggesting them.

If your brand is the best at something, don’t say you’re the best. Do something that causes the reader/viewer/customer to arrive at that conclusion on their own.

Fusion Radar: October 2, 2013

October 2nd, 2013 - by marissa - Salt Lake City, Utah

Keeping up with technology is a lot of work. Luckily, we enjoy wading through the noise just to find the gems of awesomeness sprinkled throughout. Fusion Radar is our gift to you, Current or Potential Client, so that you can enjoy all of the awesome without any of the drudgery. Unwrap it each week, and know that you’re loved by the geeks and pixel-pushers at Agency Fusion.

Flinto

Flinto is a tool you can use to build custom iOS app prototypes quickly and simply. It allows you to create a prototype by linking screens and setting transitions between each screen. It also installs your prototype on your phone’s home screen with a unique icon, so it looks and behaves like a real app before it ever hits the App Store.

Flinto

Studio for iPhone

Studio is an app (currently available only on iOS) that has been described as the “Instagram of design.” It allows users to create designs (using their own photos as a centerpiece) with features like free shapes, textures, crops, fonts, and photo filters. Something that sets Studio apart from other photo editing apps is that it gives users the ability to take and edit any design from any designer in the Studio community.

Studio for iPhone

Firefox OS Typeface

While many companies tend to carefully guard their style guides, Firefox has actually made their style guide available to anyone online. Not only can you check out the Firefox guidelines for their brand, color palette and typeface, but you can also download and use Fira (their custom font) and the Firefox Stencil PSD.

Firefox OS Typeface

Arial vs. Helvetica

Don’t spend too long on this site – the constant flickering of text as it rapidly switches back and forth between Arial and Helvetica is bound to give you a headache. However, it is interesting to see just how similar the two fonts are.

Arial vs. Helvetica

Favico.js

Favico.js is an unobtrusive way to catch users’ attention, even when they’re engaged on another tab. Using Favico.js lets you call attention to your favicon with animated badges. These badges have a variety of animation settings and background/text colors.

Favico.js

Solved by Flexbox

Flexbox is a layout mode designed to simplify the arrangement of elements on a page. Solved by Flexbox is a showcase of problems – once difficult or impossible to solve with CSS alone – trivially solved by using Flexbox. Examples include complex grids made simple and user-friendly, intuitive vertical centering, and the Holy Grail layout.

Solved by Flexbox

Signal

Signal is a Chrome extension that accesses your email and allows you to edit the content and subject of any email you receive. That means that instead of having a subject line like, “eTicket Itinerary and Receipt Confirmation M6SWG7,” you can edit that to read, “SFO->PDX – 10/14/13 @ 10:20” (the most important information in the email without any fluff). The minds behind Signal are also working on an automated version of this extension, which would scan your emails and automatically alter the subject line to show relevant material from the body of the message.

Signal

Authentication with Sorcery

Sorcery is an almost-magical, super-customizable authentication gem. Although it only offers about twenty methods, it is still full-featured and modular, which means you can choose to enable only the parts you need. It also works at a lower level than other authentication gems, so it leaves it up to you to write the controller and view layers.

Authentication with Sorcery

Quantcast

Quantcast, besides being the second-biggest name in web trackers, also happens to be an excellent resource for anyone looking for market- or company-specific data. It tracks the biggest sites on the internet, and displays stats like the number of monthly visits a site receives and some demographic information (e.g. gender, education, income, ethnicity, etc.) for those visits.

Quantcast

Second Coming of Java

Java’s had a bit of a rough time since the onset of security problems it had in the 1990s. However, it’s quietly making a comeback as the go-to programming tool and/or foundation for Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and other major websites. The Wired.com article linked below details Java’s comeback, as well as what we can expect to see from Java in the future.

Second Coming of Java